Objective: What effect does sound have on urban environments?

Summary: Sound levels aren’t really the problem.  The source of the sound is important to the affect on people.  People think of the sound of cities as sound of automobile traffic.  People enjoy sounds created by other humans.  People are made aware of the presence of each other through sound.  Cities need to be planned better to provide less focus on the car and more on people.  Object centered sound is often regarded as “noise” and undesirable, while human centered sound is much more accepted.  Lively soundscapes are characterized by movement and animations such as live music and physical activities.  Relaxing soundscapes are characterized by sounds of nature, such as animals, trees, or water.  People don’t want a decrease in sound levels, as silence can be off putting, they want the quality of ambient noises to increase.

Reference: Manon Raimbault, Daniele Dubois, “Urban soundscapes: Experiences and knowledge”, Cities, Volume 22, Issue 5, October 2005, Pages 339-350

Objective: Research spatial sound design, deeper than acoustical sound suppression.

Summary: In the past century sound design has become too corporatized thus creating sonically sterile environments.  Acoustics have begun to rely too much on electronics instead of architecture.  People practice aural architecture every day, whether they know it or not. Picking a seat in a room based on proximity to certain sound sources, or tuning out background noise with the use of headphones are both examples of aural architecture in practice.  Architects have the responsibility to arrange spaces in certain configurations to create desirable sonic experiences.  Material, form, and arrangement all play important roles in aural architecture.  The article proves that sight isn’t the only, and maybe not the most important, form of perception that should be considered in design and experience of space.

Reference: Gokce Kinayoglu, “The Soundscape of Modernity: Architectural Acoustics and the Culture of Listening in America, 1900–1933, Spaces Speak, Are You Listening? Experiencing Aural Architecture”, Journal of Architectural Education, Volume 61, Issue 4, May 2008, Pages 139-151